Friday, August 18, 2017

Football Camp

By Uncle Hans

For at least a year before I left for football camp, Renee tried to get me to go to yoga class. She felt that poor flexibility would lead to injury. Her pleas fell on deaf ears......mine. So I was sort of amused when I saw yoga class on the schedule. After an hour of yoga, lead by a very stern and very ripped young man, I could see what she was trying to say.

     Flexibility at 65 is a serious problem. Yoga may be a solution, but me at yoga class is like pounding a square peg into a round hole. I am sorry, my heels do not ever touch my butt and haven't for at least 20 years. We have yoga at least twice a week, and I dread it almost as much as on-field practice. I will admit that I feel warm and relaxed at the end. Sort of like hitting yourself on the head with a brick....... it feels good when you stop.

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This is the weight room. It is beautiful, but another source of dread. We do what is euphemistically called a "team lift" about twice a week as well. It is run by the same stern young man for whom I am developing a dislike. I have worked out since November 1st 2016, every day. It has been progressive and at this time consists of three sets of 50 "cheater" pull ups (not full extension) and 100 inclined push ups.  Doing the math, that's lifting 80,000 pounds in 15 minutes.

     I felt that routine would help me in the weight room. I was wrong. Somehow I can do 100 inclined push-ups and only 3 185 lb bench presses. Seems to me like that's using the same muscles. A typical team lift is five stations with different lifting activities lasting an hour. It is embarrassing because I have to reduce the weights every time I approach the bar. And I have to use smaller free weights. Hard to be almost always the poorest performer at each station............

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Because it is hard to recruit talented young men to a small school in the middle of nowhere without scholarships, there has been a problem in the past in this little town with young men of "uneven" character. Let's just say they kept the police up late some nights. A concerted effort is being made now to correct this. It's one of the reasons our numbers are seriously small, but credit is due the school and the football program for selectively seeking truly Christian athletes.

      Those efforts have generated some interesting events. This picture is of a community feed for the football players as a welcome. It is put on by volunteers from town.

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During camp we have mandatory church attendance as a team at the local Assemblies of God Church. Today we are doing community service by laying sod at the local golf course. Clean up after every  meal in the cafeteria is done by volunteers from the football team.  But, as a result of this careful and selective recruitment, I am with a great bunch of guys with good values.

     There are only two days of camp left, praise the Lord. If I make it through camp, the season will be easier. I am stiff and sore,

..............and I am determined to make it through camp.

Uncle Hans

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

PIZZA PARTY

IF YOU’VE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAIN TO VISIT US, YOU’VE BEEN SERVED MARY’S HOMEMADE PIZZA OFF THE DEVIL’S RED EGG GRILL. YESTERDAY WE HAD FRIENDS OVER AND TRIED A COUPLE OF MARY’S NEW CREATIONS.

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OF COURSE MARY MADE MY FAVORITE, SAUSAGE, MUSHROOM, ONION, EXTRA CHEESE, WITH ALFREDO SAUCE. THE FIRST NEW ONE WAS TACO PIZZA.

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THE TOPPINGS INCLUDED, RE-FRIED BEANS FOR THE SAUCE, TACO MEAT, FRESH TOMATOES, GREEN ONIONS, AND CORN CHIPS. I’M NOT A FAN OF TACOS SO SOMEBODY ELSE WILL HAVE TO PASS JUDGEMENT ON THIS ONE.

THE SECOND NEW RECIPE WAS A BACON CHEESEBURGER PIZZA.

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THIS ONE HAD KETCHUP FOR A SAUCE, TOPPED WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE, HAMBURGER, ONIONS, MUSTARD, AND DILL PICKLES.

THE WEATHER WAS A PERFECT “SUNNY & 80” WITH NO WIND AND WE ENJOYED OUR PIZZA PARTY VERY MUCH. LET US KNOW WHEN YOU’RE COMING OVER TO TRY MARY’S HOMEMADE PIZZA.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Full Pads & Helmets

By Uncle Hans

I am done with the first week of football camp and that's halfway. This is my locker. We went to full pads and helmet on Thursday. There are only 27 players so everyone has to learn both the offense and the defense. For a rookie football illiterate like myself it is overwhelming. The guys are very patient and quick to help me out.

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I am still the worst player in virtually every category. Kind of discouraging. I am very handicapped by being unable to catch the ball. I have very small hands and a surgeon's instinct to keep my hands out of danger. On Wednesday I dropped three in a row so when the 4th came in I made a serious effort to catch it with my body. It turned out to be a Bullet Pass, but I did catch it. This was my arm Wednesday evening.

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Here it is on Friday morning. It looks worse than it feels. Today it's already fading. I am slowly improving. My anterior thighs are the only real sore spot and this morning they felt pretty good.

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I am on the taxi Squad which means when the starting offense is at work I stand in the different defense positions to allow them to learn their assignments. When the starting defense is working I stand in the different offense positions for the same reason. Having so few players is a blessing for me because I am actually useful to the coaches and the team.

These are my work clothes. Renee said I look serious. Black for us is the color of Defense and I have been leaning towards outside linebacker.

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The defense uses a lot of single safety formations and my attempt at cornerback only proved that I was too slow for that work. Without a safety behind me I can't keep up with a wide receiver. In the jargon of the game, outside linebacker is called a dawg.

     The group is together for the better part of 14 hours a day starting with breakfast at 7:15 a.m. and often ending with a snack and devotional after 9 p.m. There are lectures, some inspirational talks, and two, two hour practices on the field. The guys are very supportive, I participate in every drill, they don't laugh when I do poorly, and they congratulate me when I occasionally do something right.

     My goal when I came here for practice was:

I want to be ON the field but not IN the way

Because of the shortage of players and the fact that they actually need me, and the fact that they all gently teach me, I am achieving that goal.

I love it, but the actual hitting has just started today and that's my last remaining hurdle.

Uncle Hans

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Friday, August 11, 2017

BUS STOP

WE RETURNED TO PRESCOTT, AZ AFTER OUR FIRST VISIT LAST SPRING.

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WE BOUGHT TICKETS TO THE OLD BROADWAY PLAY “BUS STOP” ON THE INTERNET. WE STAYED ON THE SQUARE DOWNTOWN AT HOTEL ST. MICHEAL WHICH IS ON THE END OF WHISKEY ROW.

THE PLAY IS WAY OFF BROADWAY THESE DAYS, IN FACT THE THEATER WAS IN AN ALLY IN PRESCOTT.

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THE AUDIENCE WAS SMALL, ONLY ABOUT 40 SEATS AND YOU FELT LIKE YOU WERE RIGHT ON STAGE IN THE PLAY.

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WE BOTH ENJOYED THE PLAY AND THE ROADTRIP FROM SHOW LOW TO PRESCOTT, IT COVERS SOME BEAUTIFUL TERRITORY IN ARIZONA, INCLUDING PINE, AND THE VERDE VALLEY. OF COURSE IT DIDN’T HURT THAT PRESCOTT HAS A TRADER JOES.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

First Practice

By Uncle Hans

I have been thinking for 35 years about what I would feel like when I walked off the practice field for the first time. Today it happened and what a feeling!

     The day started with meetings and lectures but rather quickly moved to the weight room. I could squat and bench press 195# two or three times, which is far below the average. One safety man one wide receiver and the punter were at about the level I am.

      We proceeded outside for about 2 hours. We ran a bunch of agility and speed drills, some of which were timed. I did okay, finishing ahead of several linemen. The end of the session was something the coach calls the 700 Club. It's 14 25 yard dashs with 180 degree direction change between each one. 2 minutes of rest. And do the whole thing again. Against the clock. I got a minute and 51 seconds for the first half. That time put me ahead of a couple lineman again.

     Then we broke for lunch......

........ the afternoon was more teaching, particularly offensive formations and their names. I will be playing defense and don't have a clue about football so they were lecturing in Greek. Then we went back outside for another 2 hours but it was much easier. They worked on offensive formations and ran some plays. They stuck me in the middle linebacker position. There was no hitting or minimal hitting. This drill operates without a defensive secondary. The team is very small only 26 of us. Therefore many players will be playing both offense and defense. We then switch to running these plays without a defense so those players could switch in. At this point I found myself just watching.

     At dinner last night I found myself sitting next to the punter. After telling him about working with Jake when he was a punter in high school, he invited me to come and work with him. Rather than stand around and watch at this point, I went over and basically shagged balls and kicked them back to him.  Like I did many years ago with Jake in the front yard on Spooner Lake.

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...... basically the day went a little better then I had hoped. I heard guys complaining at dinner about sore muscles and joints. Right now I feel about the same as after a really high level night of volleyball in Cumberland. I'm generally sore all over but have no hot spots. Let's see if I can get out of bed in the morning. This afternoon was with helmets. Full gear comes probably next week.

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     I am off and running. Stay tuned......

Uncle Hans

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